• 02-11-2007, 07:48 PM
    Review of Modded MusicHall 25.2 CDP
    I just received my Music Hall CD25.2 CDP back from Doug Jesse at Reference Audio Mods a few days ago and thought I would do a review. I modded the CDP because although it had a very detailed, transparent and live sound to the music, it tended to have a fatiguing almost harsh sound with some electronic glare when paired with my Adcom receiver. I think it would have been fine with a warmer receiver. The following mods were done at a cost of $750. (I know, I could have bought a Rega Apollo for just a few hundered more and probably should have. I decided to do the mod after Doug told me the DAC's in the Music Hall player are of high quality and are found in $5000 players)

    I replaced the stock Clock with a state of the art Super Clock 4 which decreases jitter and digital electronic glare.

    Replaced the cheap 0608 Burr-Brown op-amps with the more expensive 0627 OA's

    replaced diodes and capacitors in the power supply and analog stage with ultrafast switching low noise Caps.

    Added Bybee filters in the output stage.

    The purpose of the mod was to give the unit a warmer more detailed sound with less harshness and digital glare. The mod succeeeded on all counts. However, when I first received the unit and played it, I was disappointed. The treble sounded muddy and over shadowed by the punchier clearer bass and more foward midrange and that live sound was lost.. After 10hrs of playing and feeling like I made a mistake I called Doug Jesse and he stated that the unit needs to break in and that the first 50 hrs will sound mediocre. And that the unit will not reach its peak sound till after 150-200hrs of break in.
    So the last 2 days I have been running the unit for 18hrs per day and now after about 35 hrs I am finally begining to hear a difference. The treble and high frequency is starting to come around but not to the point like before the mod. The music is becoming more open and detailed and I'm starting to feel better about the mod. The music is much more lively and more powerful now. So I'll see how the next 100hrs go and give another update.

  • 02-12-2007, 06:04 AM
    I had a parallel experience

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    Replaced the cheap 0608 Burr-Brown op-amps with the more expensive 0627 OA's
    The purpose of the mod was to give the unit a warmer more detailed sound with less harshness and digital glare. ...

    I got an Assembage DAC 1.5 for pretty cheap; I wanted it mostly for the HDCD decoding. The sound was marginally more detail for standard CD, and significantly so for HDCD recordings, than components I'd been using, but dry and a bit bright. I had it modded at Parts ConneXion, (who originally produced the Assemblage products). Mods comprised an upgrade to the 0627 op amps, plus gold-on-copper connections and some silver wiring. Total cost was Cdn$355.

    Here again, the initial reaction was not so good, but after 30-50 hours of burn in I sensed a significant inprovement. I replaced the standard computer-type power cord with much shorter, Belden shielded cable for some further improvement.

    Was it worth the approx . US$300 cost? Given the Assemblage DAC 1.5 as sunk cost, probably yes; compared to buying some other DAC in the first place, or maybe even selling the Assembage and buy another DAC, probably not. And I might have got 33% of the overall improvement just by replacing the PC where the Belden/Wattgate/Marinco combo cost around $40.
  • 02-12-2007, 12:05 PM
    This CDP came with an upgraded Audioquest power cord with built in EMF/RF filter.
    The mod also used silverr wiring and solder. I'm glad to hear someone else got improvement after the break in period. Thanks!
  • 02-12-2007, 07:17 PM
    Nice set-up. Congrats on the new toy and I hope it pans out the way you want it to. Sounds like its headed in the right direction. Enjoy...

    Did you get to audition the MH against any of the Rega models? I'm looking at upgrading my 2-channel source and have been curious about the Music Hall.Just curious.
  • 02-13-2007, 08:40 AM
    Thanks! No I didn't get a chance to hear the Rega and I bought the Music Hall based on reviews. It had better reviews than the Azure 640 and the Arcam T73. SpearitSound recommended it over the Azure 640, NAD 542, and the Arcam. They like the transparent sound of the CDP. I really loved the sound of the stock Music Hall. It gives a live concert hall sound to music. Its has an excellent open and transparent sound with excellent high frequency response. The bass is tight crisp and clear. The midrange is pushed back a little. It was a great match for my Maggies which is very strong in the midrange. The problem is that this CDP is not a good match for bright sounding speakers or amplifiers. It did not match my Adcom which is a bright sounding receiver. In fact I'm thinking of selling the receiver for this reason.

    I've got about 50hrs now on the CDP and its sounding much better now. High freq and treble is much clearer now with no blurring or muddiness. The CDP is now on par with players selling for over $2000 IMO. However it does not give that live sound like it did before. I thinks its because the midrange is now more foward in its presentation. We will see what the next 100hrs in break in brings.
  • 02-26-2007, 09:56 AM
    Up date on my CDP. I have about 75hrs on the CDP and it has really come alive. The player used to have a laid back and very transparent sound. Now it has a very aggressive sound. The music is very detailed and imaging is superb, with no hint of digital glare. The sound is more analog. The transparency has decreased quite a bit but I don't think you can have both an aggressive sound and transparency.
  • 03-16-2007, 09:50 PM
    I too congradulate you on your new player. I was seriously thinking of buying a modified 25.5. It seems like a good option for under a grand. I listened to the Apollo and was not blown away and I don't like the top loading. I did take a Arcam CD-73T (burned in) home for the weekend and bought a new one after about 3 hours of listening. It sounds great in my system of Adcom components.